Digital Detox: Pruning Your Garden

Welcome to week three of our December Digital Detox. As a quick recap, we started by picking one day a week that’s free of social media.

I chose Facebook Free Fridays since that’s the site I check most often. Feel free to pick Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…whatever pulls you away the most.

Next, we focused on our bodies and the physical cleansing of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) through grounding or earthing. Pretty wild. Did anyone try this? I’m super curious if it’s making a difference for you. I’m still giving it a try.

This week, let’s get back to assessing our digital usage and prune back our emails, social feeds, desktops and more.

Here are three great things to do this week:

{ONE} Unsubscribe

If your notifications and emails are piling up, it’s probably time to purge.

Leave the online groups you never engage in. Asses your Facebook friends, Twitter following or Instagram feed and prune the negative influences. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails (or change the preferences so you get fewer emails from the companies you actually like.)

Tip: For a total email makeover, create a free email account (through Gmail or Outlook) so you have an email address to use when you sign up for things. That way you don’t have to rummage through so many emails looking for what’s important. 

{TWO} Declutter

The desktop on my computer and home screen on my phone were both so cluttered it was taking twice as long as necessary to find anything. I created a folder system and stored files, apps and photos in more organized spots.

For example, all of my blog file are organized inside of a Neat Nook folder. Inside of that, I have sub folders for each month of the year where I store photos and other files.

I did the same for my phone. All of my “shopping” apps are now inside of a single folder on my home screen.

This whole exercise also prompted me to delete apps I never used and trash files I knew I’d never need again. It felt really good.

Next up is decluttering my email folder. In addition to unsubscribing, I plan to clean out my inbox, sent folder and trash. All three of these folders use up storage space, especially if you send and receive large files, so it’s good to clear them out at least once a month.

{THREE} Check Out

If you’re like me, you have a knee-jerk (or maybe it’s more of an elbow-jerk reaction) to answering the phone, text, emails or any other notification that comes pinging through at any given hour.

I’m going to cut back on my reaction time and practice not responding immediately to everything that comes to my attention. I’m going to choose more consciously when to respond so I create better boundaries for myself.

This means turning off my phone during dinner with my family. It also means putting my phone down after at 9pm and resting my mind and eyes from the screen before bed.

***

I know this week is crunch time before Christmas, but I truly hope you’re able to pull back and enjoy simpler days ahead.

Good luck and many blessings,

Kate

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Looking for a Life of “Lagom”

The word lagom (pronounced: laaw-gum) is a Swedish twist on minimalism, and it translates to “just enough.”

I read about this philosophy in a recent Skimm update and was super intrigued. We live in a world of wild contrasts. We spend too much time with our phones, iPads, and Netflix, and at the same time are encouraged to reduce things from our diets and simplify our workouts and schedules. So it makes sense the idea of lagom hits home with so many of us.

It’s a way of life that strives to be in constant and steady moderation. So essentially, you can have your cake and eat it too, as long as it’s a reasonable bite.

Fascinated by this idea, I decided to assess my home and see where I could use a little lagom makeover. Where were areas of excess and stress?

Well, I found five specific places. Here’s where they are – along with inspirational pictures of what I hope to accomplish.

 {ONE} My Closet 

Doesn’t looking at this picture make you feel so calm and happy? I strive for a closet that’s this simple – and downright pretty.

Problem: I keep too much variety in my closet at any given time. I have at least three different pant sizes going on: aspirational, just right, and PMS/holiday. And I let the seasons overlap too far, as in wool scarves and bathing suits. I also hang on to things that I don’t totally love, but they fit. So, eh, I’ll keep ’em.

Plan: Get real about my size, what feels good, and what I really love wearing – then donate the rest. I’ll take my nicer things to our local Dress for Success location to help women who are truly trying to better their lives. The rest can be shared with friends or donated to other local shelters.

I’ll also be smarter about how I divide and organize the clothes I want to keep. For example, I’ll sort fall/winter and spring/summer and only have one set in the closet at all times. The clothes not in my closet will go in clear, labeled bins and stored the attic.

Also, I think having matching hangers and grouping clothes by similar colors will make me feel like I’m going shopping every time I open my closet door!

{TWO} The Pantry

As a mom who feeds three square meals a day (plus snacks) to five hungry mouths, the pantry can get a little crazytown. Everyone has their own favorite foods, and I like to plan ahead for at least a week’s worth of meals, so that = a lot of pantry items. What’s a momma to do??

Problem: My pantry always feels like it’s crammed with stuff, and I’m not even a doomsday prepper. I keep a reasonable amount of food. I think the problem is that I don’t have the right kind of storage solutions to fit the space. For example, my pantry shelves are really deep, so I can’t reach the very back of the space.

Plan: Invest in sliding baskets so I can easily store and reach items in the entire space. I will also group like items, such as all of the canned goods together on a shelf and all of the lunch items (chips, granola bars, etc.) together in a basket.

I do have some room to reduce the amount of items. The next time I plan meals, I’ll start with what’s already in the pantry and just add what’s needed to round out the meal. That way I can finally use up the extra wide egg noodles that keep looking at me every time I grab my morning cereal.

{THREE} Bathroom Closet

Bathroom storage can be a hot button for many of us. For starters, we rarely have enough room to begin with. Where are we supposed to put all of the towels, linens, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and sometimes even our makeup and hairstyling tools? Serenity now!

Problem: Space. I have a small closet in the bathroom that’s trying too hard. Poor thing.

Plan: Spread the love. I can put spare toilet paper in our laundry room (where there’s more vertical storage) and the cleaning supplies can go in a caddy under the kitchen sink. In fact, I could probably stand to reduce a few cleaning solutions.

The things that are left in the closet, such as towels, linens and some lotions, I’ll do a better job organizing and labeling. Ahh. I feel better already just saying that.

{FOUR} The Bookshelves

I love books. With my whole heart. Real ones, too, that you can hold and turn page by page. The side effect of this passion, though, is having piles of books teetering on shelves.

Problem: Thinking I’ll read all of these books again, or that my kids will want to read them one day. #nope

Plan: Give myself a set number to keep. And a realistic number that allows room for other interesting objects on the shelf, like a beautiful shell we found on our recent trip to the beach or the cool beer stein I brought home from my girls’ trip to Germany years ago.

Then I’ll donate the rest of the books to the library so I can feel good releasing them into the wild – where others can be inspired or learn from them.

{FIVE} Craft Supplies

Craft supplies. My love language. Even my family knows it. There’s a spot in my garage we call “mom’s craft corner.” It’s my mini Hobby Lobby that continues to grow – and get a little out of hand from time to time.

Problem: I tend to keep every scrap of pretty wrapping paper, ribbon, and fabric swatch. And since I don’t have a specific craft hobby, I’ve collected a large variety of items.

Plan: Toss anything that has been cluttering my space for more than two years. I mean, if I haven’t used those pink glitter pipe cleaners by now…I can donate to the art department at my kids’ school.

Everything else that’s left will go in clear plastic bins that are clearly labeled by type. For example, all of the ribbon will go in a “ribbon” bin and my scrapbook scissors and punches can go in a “paper tools” bin. Sounds reasonable, anyway. I also love the idea of pegboard storage. So I foresee a project in my future!

Wish me luck as I dive into this whole idea of simplified living. Here’s to beautifully simple weekend ahead!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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